So, this morning, as I'm recovering from being up WAAAAAAAAY too late to watch the end of San Diego State-New Mexico State (totally worth it, though), I see this come zipping through the #mubb column on my Twitter client:
John Feinstein on DC radio this am says Va Tech pushing hard for MU's Buzz Williams #mubb— John Byrne (@jbacams2011) March 21, 2014
Ok, first things first: I'm not impugning John Feinstein, his reporting, or his sources here. I absolutely believe that someone connected to Virginia Tech told Feinstein that the Hokies would love to get the current Marquette head coach to change jobs.
But that's just the problem, really. Someone told that to Feinstein, and gave him the thumbs up to share it in public. This is the third time this offseason that Buzz Williams has been connected to an open position. First it was Auburn, which quickly went to Bruce Pearl, and then it was South Florida. Now Virginia Tech.
I want to take you back eight months. Does anyone else remember when Brad Stevens was announced as head coach of the Boston Celtics? As I recall, it was a sudden announcement. I specifically remember being out of the house at the time the story broke and getting a text message from my wife that it was official and everyone was reporting that Stevens has accepted the job as the head coach of the Boston Celtics. Not "might be," not "could be," not "is talking to," not "has been contacted by."
And yet, according to the ESPN Boston story about it,
A source with direct knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com's Andy Katz that the Celtics targeted Stevens as soon as the Rivers deal with the Clippers was finalized. The Celtics contacted Stevens a week ago. The two sides had phone conversations, and the Celtics were waiting for Stevens to say yes. Ainge and the Celtics' ownership group flew to Indianapolis on Wednesday morning for their one and only in-person meeting with Stevens, and he accepted the job there.
Emphasis mine, of course. So you had four groups of journalists - Indianapolis reporters, Boston reporters, national college basketball writers, and national NBA writers - who had chances of breaking the news that the Celtics were talking to Stevens for a week, and no one did. I'm not saying that no one knew, of course. I'd be willing to bet at least one reporter in each group knew about something going on, if not a lot of them.
And yet NO ONE SAID A WORD ABOUT IT.
Why is that? Is it because their sources told them that if they reported it, they'd never get a story from them again? Maybe. Is it because it was actually kept secret? Maybe. Is it because Danny Ainge is secure in his position as general manager of the Boston Celtics and doesn't feel a need to run rumors around in the press to prove how much of a man he is? Maybe.
So here we are, in what feels like the 100th straight spring of offseason rumors of someone trying to pry loose the head basketball coach at Marquette. And yet, it's only happened once, and in that case, everyone remembers the exact day it happened. Why? Well, Tom Crean accepted the Indiana job on April 1, 2008, and everyone's instant reaction to the news was "Oh, okay, April Fool's, ha ha," because no one had previously reported on Crean's discussions with Indiana.
You'll understand if I don't take any of these rumored stories very seriously.